As accounts of the destruction of Thargoid vessels trickle in, so do tales of peaceful encounters. An unidentified independent pilot recounted one such experience:
“I fully expected to meet my end, but I kept my cool, ejected the meta-alloys in the hold, and hoped for the best. The Thargoid disengaged, scooped the meta-alloys, and appeared to adopt a more amicable position. Before long, it departed without firing a shot. I couldn't believe it.” Similar behaviour has been observed by an independent collective called the Hermes Initiative, which has been rescuing escape pods in the Pleiades region. A representative of the group said:
“We’ve encountered Thargoid ships a number of times, but we have yet to lose a crew. Thargoid vessels have a ‘body language’ that’s not too difficult to read. Give them a wide berth, and they generally leave you alone. We’ve noted they don't take kindly to folks hauling Thargoid tech, but that makes sense.”
The people of the Shinrarta Dezhra have long been known as suspicious of strangers especially those that choose to explorer the far reaches of the galaxy. Most trade in the system is carried out with their direct neighbours with pilots from the system rarely venturing more than a few light years from home.
So when Commander Floridian walked into The Mill Works Bar at Jameson Memorial bragging about a close encounter he had with an unknown vessel , it came a little surprise (at least to the locals) that the pilot was arrested and placed into High security Quarantine.
When asked for a comment the head of the system health ministry had this to say:
" Until we can assess that there is absolutely no risk to the population of Shinrarta Dezhra, Commander ... what's the name again? Yes, Commander Floridian will remain under quarantine and close observation. The pilot himself has claimed to have scanned by an unknown beam from the mysterious ship during the encounter and we simply cannot take the risk that the Commander is infected with a communicable diseases or parasites. "
" We have also taken the precaution in contacting Federal forces in the area to ask for assistance. They have been very supportive and are sending a recovery team to take Commander Floridian to a suitable facility for further tests."
Racing is underway at the Fast Ring outpost in the Manktas system, where the Buckyball Racing Club is experimenting with a new race format. 'Burnout' encourages pilots to burn as much fuel as possible while achieving the fastest possible time.
Authorities at Fast Ring issued the following statement:
"We're proud to be hosting this race for the Buckyball Racing Club, and happy to take the heat off other stations for a while." Anyone can join the experimental race, which can be flown in less than five minutes, but participation ends on the 16th of September.
Buckyball Racing Club
Independent talk show Affairs of State hosted a particularly impassioned Commander Lei Harper this weekend. Harper, a notable opponent of the effort to construct Obsidian Orbital in the Pleiades Nebula, voiced disapproval of Pilots Federation Commanders, whom he accused of war profiteering.
"The war in Mu Koji is only the latest tragedy perpetrated by you selfish, bickering fools. Thousands of ships destroyed, thousands of lives lost. For what? So the Federation or Empire can shower you with wealth? Some of you have so few scruples, you fight for both sides, laughing as you take their money and their lives."
"They are coming. They will find us divided, and they will break us. This is a warning, Commanders. Put aside your conflict and your greed, or we will all perish."
A malevolent bacterial mutation is believed to be the source of multiple outbreaks currently affecting Chhal and the surrounding systems of Kokan, Vodyak and Baneb Xoc.
In response, the Institute of Galactic Exploration and Research (IGER) has put out a call for humanitarian aid in the form of medicines and food for the affected systems. Henry Okuba, the organisation's director, said, "While we are confident that, given time, our scientists will be able to develop a countermeasure, we need the assistance of independent pilots to stabilize the immediate situation".
The bacterium appears to weaken cell membranes, and the symptoms of infection are similar in both crops and humans. Pilots delivering aid are advised to not stray outside designated safe zones.
"Although no IGER settlements have been infected, we cannot stand idly by while our neighbours suffer", said Okuba.
Commander Corbin Moran
Admiral Denton Patreus has yet to release a statement about the enthusiastic response to the recent Majestic-class Interdictor construction effort, but the rewards programme that allowed the materials quota to be reached well ahead of schedule has been heralded as the key to its success.
Captain Alexis Corvus, who recently championed an increase in payouts for such initiatives, shared her thoughts:
"The Pilots Federation has always been politically neutral, but its members, being mercenaries at heart, have demonstrated that their allegiance lies with the highest bidder. Indeed, many of the Commanders initially opposing our efforts contributed to our goals when apprised of the rewards programme. We hope they remember this, and support the Empire in the future."
One Federation-aligned Commander confirmed:
"Yeah, a bunch of my guys were there. They said the money was too good to ignore."
At the celebrity fundraising event Healing Cheese, celebrity chef Oliver Gordon said:
"As we face the possibility of galactic war, an even greater tragedy is unfolding. We owe it to the galaxy's creameries to save cheese before vital skills are lost forever."
"We implore the Pilots Federation to add cheese to the list of approved tradeable commodities. In this time of crisis, only the savoury notes of Eotienses Blue or a slice of Stinking Lavian can heal our divisions. We cannot ignore the unifying power of cheese in this time of need."
Commanders Digest | Interstellar Press
With the deployment of Imperial warships in the Pleione system, and the establishment of multiple Federal military outposts in a corridor between inhabited space and what pilots now call the 'Pleiades Powder Keg', people of varying allegiances are preparing for an ignition spark.
In a statement to the Imperial Herald, Captain Alexis Corvus of the Imperial Navy issued a warning: "While the Pilots Federation has lent us aid in the past, its loyalty is directly proportional to its paycheck. If diplomacy fails, and the Empire cannot pay for these privateers' loyalty, it must stand alone."
One member of the Pilots Federation unabashedly expressed his views on the situation: "In my eyes, anything that pushes the galaxy towards war – and therefore a bit more excitement – is a good thing."
Dr. Marcus Gates, chairman of the interstellar think tank ARGUS, has called for the reformation of the Intergalactic Naval Research Arm, also known as INRA. In an address to the graduates of the Feynman Institute of Technology, in the Eta Cassiopeiae system, Gates said:
"In the past we discovered complex non-human life forms that ultimately turned out to be harmless, but that may not always be the case.
"Canonn scientists have confirmed sightings of barnacles in at least three different nebulae, thousands of light years apart, which strongly suggests that the structures are the product of a space-faring race. I therefore call upon the leaders of the Federation and the Empire to reform the Intergalactic Naval Research Arm, to preserve humanity's continued dominance and research this alien technology."
Commander Galor Cracken
The burn marks were still fresh when the Better-Late-Than-Never, a Cobra Mk III, arrived at Solo Orbiter in the Altair system. The ship's pilot, still shaking after 11 hyperspace jumps and 14 interdictions, contacted local media and issued the following statement:
"The Pilots Federation should be called out for what it really is: a criminal organization that supports bandits, thieves and thugs. They mandate that all licensed pilots transmit their combat rank via transponder, which is fine for the dangerous-deadly-elite crowd who want the bragging rights. But what about those of us trying to earn a living as explorers and traders? We're forced to broadcast our 'harmlessness' to the entire galaxy! And what does this do? It invites the thugs to pick on the 'easy' targets!
Commander Finn McMillan
A stranded pilot was rescued today when a Universal Cartographics survey team arrived in an unexplored star system some 1,000 light years from Sol. The captain of the ship, the Amundsen, stated:
"We picked up a short-range distress signal from a metal-rich world with close to 1g but an unbreathable atmosphere. The pilot was suffering from malnutrition and psychological trauma but was otherwise unharmed. We're currently treating him and are confident of a full physical recovery. I can confirm that we still intend to complete our four-week survey mission before returning with our data."
The pilot, Lindelani Mduduzi, was stranded on the planet over three years ago when his ship's frame shift drive was irreparably damaged. His situation was complicated by the fact that he had set out without filing a flight plan with the authorities. He commented:
"I took my eye off the ball and it cost me. I'm glad I'll be back in the Federation soon. Is Halsey still running the show?"
In the wake of this news, the Pilots Federation issued a statement advising all explorers to file a flight plan with the appropriate authorities before embarking on an expedition.
Commander Stateira Eleshenar
Sagittarius A* Messenger | Interstellar Press
Explorers setting out into the void have started transmitting reports of previously unknown settlements. At multiple locations less than 200 light years from inhabited systems, informal colonies are being established on recently discovered planets, undocumented by Universal Cartographics.
Earth-like worlds are the most popular, but unofficial outposts have been spotted on other planetary bodies, from high-metal planets to icy moons. Many have been settled by former pilots, and have populations of fewer than a hundred. Veteran pilot Jonah Adane Tabor, sole occupant of one Earth-like planet, stated:
"I've fought a lot of battles in my time. A lot of senseless killing and blood-shedding over nothin'. I've seen friends blasted into stardust – vaporised, just like that. Everyone I know is gone. It crawls into yer brain. I don't want to see those things in my dreams no more! I parked up here 'cause I want to be left alone. I can't live with other people. This is my little corner of the universe to find peace."
Commander Stateira 'Starcloak' Eleshenar
Sentient Life | Interstellar Press
A tragic accident occurred yesterday when the pilot of an Orca passenger liner collided with a Lakon Type-9 Heavy leaving Tarter Dock in Wuthielo Ku. The passengers and crew aboard the Orca were killed, while the crew of the Type-9 suffered only non-critical injuries. Early reports indicate that the Orca pilot had been drinking the infamous Wuthielo Ku Froth just two hours before lift-off.
In response to such incidents, and with several traditional festivals fast approaching, the Pilots Federation has pledged to run an awareness campaign warning pilots about the dangers of drink-flying. In a preliminary statement, the Pilots Federation advised:
"Pilots should never fly while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs that could adversely affect safety, and should ideally wait 24 hours after drinking before flying. Our study of fatal accidents between 3273 and 3300 shows that in 14.7% of cases the pilot was above the recommended blood-alcohol level of 0.05%."
Commander Stateira "Starcloak" Eleshenar
Jameson Memorial Review | Interstellar Press
BD+26 2184 recently hosted to a memorial service for Kathy McBrayer, mother of Commander Sataris of the East India Company. After Universal Cartography renamed a world in the system in honor of Sataris' mother, the commander was treated to a ride aboard an Orca, and was accompanied to Kathy McBrayer by volunteer security forces.
Representatives from all over civilized space responded to Commander Sataris' invitation to join the memorial service, and the procession of vessels offering support and condolences lasted several hours. One attendee referred to the convoy as "Kathy's Angels".
Commander Sataris said: "I would just want to thank everyone from the Pilots Federation who was able to journey to the memorial planet in BD+26 2184. I am deeply moved by the amount of support I have received."
May she rest in peace with a place among the stars.
It will come as no surprise to subscribers that Winters' territory continues to be heavily hit by external forces. Reports from the frontline suggest it is Empire forces that have again been responsible for the majority of incursions.
A weary Commander Dreadnought, docking for repair at Jameson Memorial, commented: "Yeah, it's pretty hairy out there at times. We've been running support into our hearth systems in Carnoeck and Charunder, and the opposition in Rhea on the return has been intense. Interdicted six times on one trip – same two Impie scum – but they can't touch her". He kicks at the landing gear of a semi-militarised Anaconda beside us. You can just make out her name through the scarred paint – 'Complaints Department'. Beneath, somehow unblemished, is another legend and an odd-looking, antiquated rifleman in ultramarine blue. 'We stand ready, as one.' My question regarding the figure is rebuffed. "Minutemen. Read your Sol history, sonny. Now lose yourself – we're heading south tonight. There is some bitter medicine to administer."
Source: Founders World Clarion News